Prepared by Maggie Castellani, February 15,1994; Revised August 2010
Two boxes,11th floor
In 1992, Cleveland artist, Algesa O'Sickey, donated a series of 40 watercolors to the Kent State University Department of Special Collections. The watercolor paintings are depictions of O'Sickey's costume designs made for the 1977 production of "Taming of the Shrew" for the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (GLSF).
The designs follow two basic color schemes: earth tones (orange, browns, greens) for the prologue, and bright tones for the five acts of the play. The director's idea for the costumes was more towards a commedia dell'arte style, thus keeping with the Paduan style and the boisterous behavior of the play's characters. Ms. O'Sickey approached her designs with her own ideas of potraying the active characters: costumes that are free and loose conveying the "richness of color, texture and juxtaposition of patterns", and a faded, patched and wrinkled look due to the characters constantly packing their cloths and traveling.
This was Ms. O'Sickey's first endeavor with costume design. Up to this point, the artist had been involved in other areas which included puppeteering, fashion illustration, interior design, softsculpting, and had acted as a gallery director. Also up to this point, her work had been seen at the Ross Widen Gallery, The Play house Gallery, Lake Erie College, Canton Art Institute, Butler Institute of American Art and Hiram College, amoung others, along with being a frequent May show exhibitor.
Other items in the collection are: garment specifications written on xeroxed copies of the watercolor paintings; fabric swatches; a journal which states character settings, design ideas and fabric specifications; correspondence; notes on various design ideas and scheduled meetings; items from a GLSF Gallery Exhibit that displayed the watercolor painings; and, newspaper articles which are mainly reviews of the show.
The works on paper have been rehoused in acid-free mats and the fabric swatches placed in acid-free envelopes. These are arranged in alphabetical order according to the character's name. There is also a stack of swatches housed in an acid-free flip -top box.
For more information on the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (GLSF), as well as the papers of Arthur Lithgow, GLSF founder and first artistic director. Both these collections are part of the American theater holdings of the department
In 1994, Algesa O'Sickey donated memorabilia from the era of the Ten-Thirty Gallery, once located at 1515 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, where she was the director from 1946-1949/50. The gallery was originated in 1944 by artist Wray Manning to assist his Cleveland colleagues and to boost morale for the artists and art on the area. The gallery was then managed by Manning's two daughters, Nancy and Mary. In 1946, the gallery was coined a civic non-profit institution (all along it had never been a money-making adventure) and Mrs. O'Sickey took over as director. Not only did the gallery exist as a central outlet for the exhibition and sales of young, unknown (and established) artist's work , but it existed also for the sake of the community.
Artists and art-minded volunteers came together to incorporate their talents and skills at the gallery in order for the community to have exposure to contemporary art as a "more intimate, integral part of daily living." Per O'Sickey, "Through its day-after-day efforts, the gallery has helped to take art out of the lorgnette class, bringing to the average person an increasing awareness of good art, encouraging him to think of a painting as something not merely to view on a museum wall, but to buy and enjoy daily in his home."
The gallery offered exhibitions, lectures and demonstrations, a social arena for artists and the public, an education program offering classes, an annual art festival, and sales of art publications(e.g., cards). The gallery closed in the early 1950's due to lack of funding as decided by it's board of directors.
The following items can be found in regards to the Ten-Thirty Gallery: membership and progress reports (f.1-4); exhibition announcements and catalogues (f.5-23); photographs of various artists (including the O'Sickeys) and those involved in the gallery's activities (f.24-38); newspaper clippings (f.39-48); and, art festival posters and related materials by Joseph O'Sickey (f.49-53).
One of the noted artists that was often highlighted at the gallery was Ohio-born artist William Sommer. He was highly respected and well known in the area and the gallery was very generous in their efforts to support the artist. There are exhibition catalogues of various shows of the artist ranging from the Ten-Thirty Gallery to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Also included are photographs and newspaper articles depicting the artist's work.
The remaining folders, 54-74, pertain to various artists befriended by the O'Sickeys--Leonard Baskin; Alex Katz (Blossom Kent Program); R.B. Kitaj (Blossom Kent Program); Roy Lichtenstein (Ten-Thirty Gallery); Otto Piene (Blossom Kent Program); Wayne Thiebaud (Blossom Kent Program); and Joseph Fiore ( Ten-Thirty Gallery). Included in these folders are mainly correspondence and photographs.
Scope and Content
Many details of the scope and contents of the collection are included with the historical notes. The collection consists of two series; one related to the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, and the other to the Ten-Thirty Gallery. All the photographs and artwork in the collection have been well preserved, although the watercolors have some evidence of adhesive marks. A few watercolors have been scanned and digitized for this webpage. The works were chosen for their representation of the most elaborate costumes, as well as the colorful rendering.
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